RT, worthy of sympathy?
Reflections on decision by Germany to take RT DE off air
This blogpost is a reflection on the recent media war episode, when recently German court revoked RT DE right to broadcast in that country and Russian government’s retaliation, when they pulled German state broadcasters, DW Russian, off air in Russian Federation. This is also a response to the today's post on RT by Riley Waggaman, former senior editor at RT, where here raises a good question, do the restrictive actions by German government deserve our sympathy for RT? Riley’s blog post can be found here.
So, before we cast that judgment, let's first try to understand what RT is and what it is not:
1. RT is not an independent media outlet (are there any truly independent ones out there?), it is a state media propaganda news source so it will always be pushing the narrative by Russian government. There are three most senior propagandists in Russian media space, Kiselyov, Solovyov and Simonyan - three of them collectively define the general narrative in consultation with Kremlin's chief political technologist (deputy chief president's administration) Mr. Kirienko. This is simplified, but roughly describes the situation.
2. There is a huge difference between RT English and RT Russian. RT Russian is more or less a reprint of the official state news source RIA (Russian Information Agency) and contains articles that sometimes make my blood boil, but I still look at it periodically as a bellwether of what's on the mind of Kremlin dwellers. Topics selection in RT English is very different from RT Russian, there is much more of the original content there, but, go to point #1 - this is a state propaganda outlet.
3. RT, as expected, never negatively reports on Russian internal events. The most we can see there is a neutral type of reporting if there was let's say mass shooting, or some kind of technological catastrophe. At the same time they bring to light a lot of "dirt" on the West, and rarely blatently lie (may be just a bit), they just present a biased coverage, as basically every MSM around the world does. So if you want to read something interesting, even scandalous about Russia, Russia Today is not a place for that.
4. What is good and bad about RT, just like what is good and bad about NYT or WaPo, is that they hold no principles. They "flex with the party line" as people jokingly used to say about career communists in USSR. So if tomorrow mandatory jabbing will become the thing of the past, expect articles from RT where they'll publishing research that justifies decision to stop jab mandates, despite the fact that their Editor in Chief, Margarita Simonyan, was so adamant about mandates, she was blocking unjabbed subscribers on her Telegram account.
5. Russians have never booted Western media out of the country first, only as retaliation to the actions by Western governments first. The consensus to this point was we'll let you operate if you allow us to work your media space. The consensus existed until Germany broke this truce. Notably, after actions taken by both sides Germany retains a significant advantage over Russia as they continue running DW Russian channel on YouTube, while RT DE was booted off the platform by Alphabet Inc. Since blocking individual channel on YouTube is technically challenging, Russian authorities didn't dare to block the YouTube service all together as their own state media is highly dependent on it. There is a good chance we'll see more of this media war continue in other countries. As usual, I'm on the side of an underdog.
There are few things that make RT unique and more good than bad, in my view:
1. Their Ruptly division is more out there with cameras during protests and other events than any MSM I know of. This is something to appreciate, for sure.
2. Their comments policy. They are the most liberal platform in terms of allowing all kinds of comments that I know of, especially when it comes to government run platforms. There was an attempt by them at censorship earlier this year, but it was quickly quelled. I frequently post there comments with criticism toward Russia’s government policies, they let me know their discontent with silent dislikes, but allow comments to stay.
3. I like the hidden subversiveness of RT. On one hand they follow all globalist, WEF, Schwabian directives, but on the other hand they place articles worded in such way that we/they know the kind of response they will get from commentators and achieve a totally opposite effect in the perception of the article's subject.
So, what do you think? Are Germany’s censoring actions justified? Is RT deserving of sympathy for being often persecuted in the West, namely in US, UK, France and now in Germany?